Monday, February 20, 2006

The Monthly Nursery Raid

Once you have a baby, you will learn that their things tend to multiply exponentially. While you thought that you would be able to have a baby with an organized life before he or she was born, you soon learn that you will have to deal with doting family members as well as the items your baby needs, and those you just cannot live without getting. That can lead to too much clutter! Here are some simple ways to help de-clutter your nursery.

First be sure that you go through baby items regularly. Your baby will grow so quickly physically and developmentally that you will find that the toy that enthralled her just last week will sit in the bottom of the toy box this week. You should go through baby toys every month or so and be willing to purge the ones no longer getting used.

Note, though, that it may not be necessary to toss the toys. I recently thought that my now one-year-old son had outgrown his rattles as I had not seen him play with them in ages. When I started cleaning out the toy box, I realized why. They had gotten lost at the bottom, and he could not get to them! I sifted through the supply of baskets and plastic tubs for organizing that I keep outside and discovered a small white basin that was a perfect fit for the rattles and other small toys. I put them all in the basin and on a shelf that he can reach. Now he is playing with his rattled again and using them in creative ways since he has a better grip on his coordination. Try putting items in places where baby can reach them easily to make them more desirable playthings.

You should go through baby clothes often as well. The easiest way to go through them is to decide early what you want to do with the clothes that baby has outgrown. If you will be tossing them away or giving them to charity, then you will want to get a couple of cardboard boxes to put them in. Should you be keeping them for future little ones, then you should get plastic tubs. Buy several at the same time so that you will have them when you need them.

When you notice that an outfit is getting a bit snug and know that it will not make it through another round, then you should put it in the cardboard or plastic tub that you are using to collect baby items. Be sure that you come up with a system for marking the clothing. An easy option is to get dryer-proof clips that you can put on the outfit so that you will remember when you are doing the laundry.

If you are getting rid of the clothing, then take the box once a month on a specified day to the thrift store where you are dropping it off. If you will be keeping the clothing, be sure that you put it by size. When the box is full or you have collected all of a certain size, then go ahead and put the box away. Be sure that you mark the outside so that you will know what you have in each box. Be sure that you rifle through the closet and drawers once a month when you are going through toys, and you will be sure to find clothes that baby has not worn that are too small.

Also go through miscellaneous items during this monthly raid of the nursery. We received a number of gifts that we thought would be useful but just did not make it into our lifestyle once our son was born. We have learned that it is easier to get rid of these items. One was the baby bathtub. We got three of them with different ideas behind the design. One was never used because it was too cumbersome and required blowing up. One we used, but our son did not like. The third one got the most use. We kept it for baby number 2 and got rid of the other two. You will find items such as that on this monthly raid, but it is much better to recognize them now than when you are going through years of lost stuff.

By Julia Mercer

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